ID Thieves Use Counterfeit Identification to Finance Vehicles Through Banks then Make Fraudulent Online Purchases

A nationwide scheme utilizing stolen identities to obtain car loans has impacted car dealerships in Southwest Florida and other parts of the U.S. Detectives with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit report a local dealership shipped an $80,000 corvette to Georgia after the suspect used the identity of an elderly woman to purchase the vehicle online. The dealership received a counterfeit cashier’s check from the “purchaser” but shipped the car before it was discovered that the check was fraudulent. The vehicle was located in Memphis, TN and two subjects were apprehended. Another similar incident occurred in Texas using the stolen identity of a Lee County woman and once again the car was shipped to Georgia before the dealer realized the payment was counterfeit.

All auto dealers utilizing online sales should never ship a vehicle before confirming the payment has been accepted as legitimate by their financial institution. Please alert your staff working in online sales to be aware of these incidents. For further information, please contact Detective Heath Lewis, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, 239-258-3251.

To view our past alert on recommendations and red flags when accepting checks here